How to get a job at Skyscanner

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

Skyscanner’s Early Careers Senior Executive Chelsea Tessendorf explains what she looks for in a successful candidate. When she’s looking for the right people for the company’s graduate programmes, Chelsea says any number of attributes will help you land the job.

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‘It sounds really clichéd,’ says Chelsea, ‘but honestly, just be yourself. If I think of all the graduates who have joined this year and every single one of them is unique. You can’t say that they have this particular factor or come from this university. They come from different backgrounds and cultures; as a global company we’re keen our employees reflect the travellers across the world we look to reach’.

‘A key bit of advice as you’re going through the recruitment process is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself,’ says Chelsea. She adds: ‘If you haven’t done an internship, that doesn’t faze us at all, either. We hire on culture fit and future ability – so we’re looking to understand what makes you tick, rather than be bowled over by a huge CV.’

What’s new at Skyscanner?

While Skyscanner had paused their early career programme during the pandemic, it is now very much back. There’s a host of exciting software engineering graduate jobs at Skyscanner, and more early career roles across the business to come.

‘We’re also looking at opening up our internship and work experience offerings in the future, which is super exciting,’ says Chelsea. ‘While we’re known for software engineering, we’ve growing teams across areas such as Marketing, Business Analysis, Finance, Legal and Commercial, to name a few. These are areas early years talent can also make a huge impact, so watch this space.’

What makes Skyscanner’s graduate programmes different?

‘Our programmes are rotational – so you’ll spend time in different areas of the business and get a full view of what the company is doing. Each time you will be working with different people,’ says Chelsea. ‘That in itself isn’t unique, but Skyscanner is known for its positive and very inclusive culture. We’re transparent and very open, with regular sessions sharing our successes, learnings, and opportunities to ask our Execs and CEO questions.’

When you start working for Skyscanner you’ll be assigned an onboarding buddy and a technical buddy, alongside other support.’

‘We have a very strong roster of employee networks, whether through our Pride and LGBTQ+ groups, Race network, women in tech groups, accessibility champions and much more,’ says Chelsea, emphasising the openness and kindness that she’s found since joining. ‘As a company with more than 90 million active users worldwide a month, we recognise the power of this, and with that level of global reach you’ll really have an impact working on interesting products.

You’ve decided to apply – what will give you the edge?

‘People who talk about their personal projects in their applications really stand out. I don’t want a generic letter; I want to see that you’ve tailored it to Skyscanner. And I don’t need a seven-page CV,’ says Chelsea.

Among the best things to impress Chelsea are moments that you’ve been proud of, when you’ve overcome a challenge, learned something new or worked well within a team to achieve a goal. Once you’re invited to interview, besides a coding test (for the engineering roles) and initial interview, there is a Discovery Day (Skyscanner’s version of an assessment centre) where you get the chance to learn more about Skyscanner and them about you! A Discovery Day consists of a group exercise and individual culture and technical interviews.

‘Of those two, culture is the most important to us,’ says Chelsea. ‘Our culture questions are often based around our values; the technical interviews might include problem solving. You will talk an interviewer through the steps you would take towards reaching a solution. You might not solve the problem but in articulating your process an interviewer will be able to see the potential in you – how you take on board feedback or take the time to read through things to work things out, for example.’

At university, students are often taught to have the right answer, Chelsea adds. ‘I know asking questions makes you feel vulnerable or less informed but it’s okay not to have the answer for something,’ she says.

Any other tips for success?

Chelsea points out that the Skyscanner blog has more insider information for graduates wanting to do background research, adding: “Our Global VP of Engineering has been here nearly 12 years and has blogged about his journey from graduate to what he does now – which is to lead our global engineering teams,’ she says.

‘We use the phrase ‘fail forward’ here and encourage people to share setbacks and learn from failings,’ says Chelsea. ‘We’ll also encourage you to share your successes and definitely help you celebrate them!’

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